climate economics

What Economists Don’t Get About Our Relationship With Nature

No, climate change isn’t less of a problem if people get used to a devastated world.

People often adjust to problems that seem terrible upfront.  Some studies show, for instance, that people who who lose limbs are very unhappy for awhile but then start to adjust to their positions.  Some economists argue that something similar may happen with climate change — we might find that we don’t miss extinct animals or …

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A Case of Reverse Causation?

Tomorrow’s Emission Determine Today’s Social Cost of Carbon

Here’s the weird thing: the social cost of carbon today, depends significantly on the year-by-year emissions of carbon in the future, which we obviously don’t know. (Because it depends on our own future actions!)  It takes some explanation to show why that’s true and how it matters. If you know a bit about climate policy, you know …

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Can We Control Climate Change and Still Have Economic Growth? (Part II)

It’s all in the timing.

Yesterday’s post discussed economic growth and how it relates in principle to carbon emissions.  Basically, economic growth just means that people will be getting goods and services they prefer over today’s goods and service.  There’s no intrinsic reason why the “better” bundle necessarily has to involve more carbon.  In fact, it could involve a lot less carbon. …

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Can We Control Climate Change and Still Have Economic Growth? (Part I)

What do we mean by “economic growth”? Does it always mean more carbon?

The Washington Post recently had a column arguing that even climate advocates and scientists are in denial, for thinking that we can have economic growth and still fight climate change.  is that true? It’s useful to take some time to think through what we mean by economic growth and how that relates to carbon emissions. …

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Climate Impacts: The Economist’s View

Climate change may damage economies more than previously thought.

The Economist has an important story about climate change impacts.  There are two big takeaways, one about growth in developing countries and one about economic repercussions  in developed countries like the U.S. It has long been known that climate change will impose costs on developing countries.  But there is  increasing reason to think that it …

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The Climate Gamble

Paul Krugman has a review of a new book by William Nordhaus about climate policy.  By way of preface, I should say that Nordhaus is not particularly popular with environmentalists, who have generally considered him as too conservative in his policy recommendations.  Nordhaus does, however, more or less define the mainstream view — he’s very …

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Debunking the Denialists

William Nordhaus, the distinguished climate change economist, has written a response to the Wall Street Journal‘s latest exercise in climate skepticism.  He does an excellent job of responding to many of the standard claims of climate skeptics. For one thing, the WSJ op-ed misrepresented Nordhaus’s own findings.  According to the op-ed, Nordhaus’s research supported “a …

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